Is there such a thing as a photonic boom?

  • Thread starter dbmorpher
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  • #1
dbmorpher
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Hello I'm dbmorpher,
We all know that if you travel at the speed of sound you achieve a sonic boom from the sound bouncing off the object.
Since light behaves similarly to sound would there be such a thing as a "Photonic Boom"?
If so is the reason physical beings cannot travel the speed of light because a photonic boom would destroy us?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
PAllen
Science Advisor
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Hello I'm dbmorpher,
We all know that if you travel at the speed of sound you achieve a sonic boom from the sound bouncing off the object.
Since light behaves similarly to sound would there be such a thing as a "Photonic Boom"?
If so is the reason physical beings cannot travel the speed of light because a photonic boom would destroy us?

You can think of Cerenkov radiation as a photonic boom:

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/SpeedOfLight/cherenkov.html

However, in a vacuum this is not possible, and has nothing to do with why nothing goes faster than c. A better way to look at this is that the structure of spacetime divides events into causally connected and causally disconnected. The constant c determines the surface of possible causal connection. It just happens that light, being massless (so far as we know) travels at the maximum speed of causal influence.
 

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